17

We obviously see Fawkes consumed by fire and then reborn from the ashes in Chamber of Secrets. If a Phoenix lives a natural life (i.e. isn't killed by something) will it continue to burn and be reborn infinitely, or will the Phoenix eventually die from natural causes (i.e old age, etc)?

  • 2
    Don't know about the Potter-verse, but the mythical creature (I was about the write "the real creature" :P ) is supposed to always be reborn from its ashes. – Andres F. Jan 20 '12 at 2:14
  • I guess it does die from "natural causes" (e.g. Old age) but then it just gets "reborn" from the ashes right? Lol – Möoz May 2 '14 at 1:52
20

I'm not sure how canonical this is, but:

  • HP Wikia "Immortality" says:

    Whenever phoenixes die, whether from old age or something like a Killing Curse, they always reborn from their remaining ashes, technically making them immortal. They are so far the only living beings who possess natural immortality. They are also the only creatures who defy the absolute law of that nothing can truly bring back the dead.

    Phoenix Wikia also says "Hence, phoenixes are immortal".

    I don't recall any canon material contradicting that, but in all fairness none that proves it (e.g. forever regenerations) either

  • Though this is slightly out of scope of the original question, it's 100% certain you can NOT kill a Phoenix with Avada Kedavra, since Fawkes took one in HP5 to save Dumbledire's life, and was reborn:

    "Fawkes swooped down in front of Dumbledore, opened his beak wide, and swallowed the jet of green light whole. He burst into flame and fell to the floor, small wrinkled, and flightless" (src: HP5, page 815 US book).

  • Out of Universe:

    http://www.mythicalcreaturesguide.com/page/Phoenix

    Lists a variety of myths, none of which seems to indicate ANY way of permanent death for phoenix.

  • Back in-universe, I can think of a couple of PLAUSIBLE ways to try and kill the phoenix, but with absolutely ZERO information in the canon AFAIK as to whether they are gonna work:

    • Have a Dementor kiss it

    • Have it be thrown through the Veil (Ala Sirius)

    • Place it in a vacuum (No oxigen => No burning, plus not enough energy for rebirth)

    • If the ashes actually play some active role in the rebirth (as opposed to merely being around an already re-born bird), scatter the ashes right after the burst.

    Dibs on the questions based on those ideas! :)

| improve this answer | |
  • 10
    About the vacuum point - I think it could still come back to life. Almost as if by magic. – Dason Jan 20 '12 at 3:03
  • 5
    @Dason - beats me. I'm one of those geeks who think that any magic is some sort of underlying science anyway. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 20 '12 at 3:04
  • I read something relevant to this question in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them the other day. :) – Slytherincess Mar 14 '12 at 4:28
  • Still not as weird as planarian worms. – Misha R Nov 13 '17 at 4:41
  • "...the only creatures who defy the absolute law...." That's not an absolute law, then, is it? – Wildcard Aug 17 '18 at 23:11
12

It does not appear that Phoenixes are immortal in Potterverse:

The phoenix lives to an immense age as it can regenerate, bursting into flames when its body begins to fail and rising again from the ashes as a chick. Phoenix song is magical; it is reputed to increase the courage of the pure of heart and to strike fear into the hearts of the impure. Phoenix tears have powerful healing properties.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - page 32 - Scholastic Books

I figure 6 weeks is long enough to wait for someone else to look this up, as per the comment I left for DVK.

| improve this answer | |
  • 10
    I'm unsure this proves mortality as opposed to the author (Newt?) not wishing to make unsubstantiated statements. HE has never had a chance to observe a phoenix living forever, so he can at most say "really long" without lying. – DVK-on-Ahch-To May 2 '14 at 1:53
0

I believe dousing the ashes would do it. Or rendering the ashes 'unignitable'.

Since the ashes are vital in the cycle, that should keep it, even if only temporarily, 'dead'.

But that's just me guessing.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Since it's a magical fire, I don't imagine that water would prevent it's re-ignition – kidragakash Mar 30 '15 at 1:59

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.